Help­ing was his ‘Des­tiny’

Multisport Mecca - - News - Grant Ed­wards Grant.Ed­wards@news.com.au

STAR­ING death in the eye in­spired a new life for Bris­bane’s An­thony Fong.

While in Thai­land dur­ing 2008, a truck col­lided with a tuk-tuk in which An­thony was trav­el­ling.

Left with mul­ti­ple screws and plates in his left eye socket, An­thony re­turned to Aus­tralia with a new out­look.

“It was a sign to wake up and there was more to life than drugs and par­ty­ing,” he said.

“It was a fake world.

“I got back and spoke to one of my mates. I dis­tanced my­self from a lot of my friends, then met my wife and she put me on the straight and nar­row as well.”

That was the be­gin­ning of a self­less ex­is­tence which has turned full cir­cle.

Cur­rently pre­par­ing for a fundrais­ing ride from Mel­bourne to Mooloolaba this month, An­thony is mak­ing the jour­ney to sup­port ‘Des­tiny Res­cue’ – an or­gan­i­sa­tion ded­i­cated to sav­ing chil­dren from sex­ual ex­ploita­tion and slav­ery.

Only six weeks ago An­thony joined a res­cue in Thai­land where he went into “the belly of the beast” to help res­cue chil­dren.

“It was an emo­tional roller-coaster,” he said.

“Un­til you are there on the doorstep of what’s gong on ... it was a big awak­en­ing to life in a way. Here in Aus­tralia we are so lucky, and you head over there and it’s just the way of world.

“In a way it’s nor­mal­ity whereas we look at it as ‘how can that ever hap­pen’.

“The hard­est thing is com­ing back to Aus­tralia. Work­ing in the hos­pi­tal­ity in­dus­try, you al­ways see peo­ple be­ing rude or ask­ing for some­thing in a rude man­ner. You just think ‘you have noth­ing to be rude about’.”

Given Aus­tralia helps fuel the ex­ploita­tion of chil­dren, with men head­ing over­seas to visit broth­els with young girls, An­thony be­lieves the ride is a great ve­hi­cle to spread his mes­sage.

“It’s a scourge on mod­ern so­ci­ety. Mil­lions of chil­dren around the world are traf­ficked or trapped in sex­ual ex­ploita­tion with lit­tle hope for free­dom. We bring free­dom. We shine a light in the dark­ness,” he said.

An­thony is hop­ing to make the ride an an­nual event, where par­tic­i­pants can un­der­take the

whole jour­ney, or join the Mel­bourne to Syd­ney or Syd­ney to Mooloolaba sec­tions.

This year’s Road to Hap­pi­ness ride will set the foun­da­tion for the fu­ture.

“I’m not an en­durance ath­lete. I never was, I was al­ways at the gym and peo­ple used to give me grief that I had no en­gine,” An­thony said. “I thought ‘what could I do to chal­lenge my­self and make an im­pact’. The first time on a long ride I cramped on my calves and quads. Ran­dom

cy­clists were rub­bing my legs.

“Sec­ond time the same thing. I was think­ing this cy­cling game is not for me. Then I started smaller.

“I started with 30km, 40km and then big­ger kilo­me­tres.”

He’s been train­ing for months, and will have a cer­e­mo­nial de­par­ture from the Mel­bourne Storm home game against the Syd­ney Roost­ers on Au­gust 12.

Cy­cle Zone Mooloolaba is pro­vid­ing as­sis­tance for the jour­ney, sup­ply­ing equip­ment and me­chan­i­cal sup­plies.

PHOTO: CON­TRIB­UTED

An­thony Fong will ride his bike from Mel­bourne to Mooloolaba in sup­port of Des­tiny Res­cue.

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